Kavanaugh said repeatedly that his reputation and career must not be laid waste by an accusation that he denied and for which there is no independent evidence. The larger principle here is that it would be a disaster for American democracy — and American culture more generally — if mere charges were deemed sufficient to cast widely respected figures to the curb. At various points during this saga it has been suggested that, irrespective of their veracity, the allegations against Kavanaugh could “cast a shadow on the Court.” If permitted to stand, this view would bring untold peril to our public life. “I have accused you,” any opponent would be able to say, “and that fact renders you ineligible for this position.”
Two weeks ago, what we knew of Judge Kavanaugh suggested that he is a man of immense talent, impeccable temperament, and excellent character. Nothing that has happened in the intervening days, certainly not Kavanaugh’s warranted anger today, has altered our view. “Judge” and “Defendant” are two wholly discrete roles, which is why judges recuse themselves when their personal affairs and those of the court intersect. In support of his innocence, Judge Kavanaugh has today’s testimony, and the reams of information provided over the last two weeks. In support of his suitability for the role for which he has been proposed, he has his life’s work. The Senate should confirm him — and without delay.